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February 2020 Global Price Watch

  • Price Watch
  • Global
  • February 28, 2020
February 2020 Global Price Watch

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • In West Africa, market supplies were seasonally stable at above-average levels with significant carryover stocks. Demand remained below average, except in areas of deficit and insecurity. Staple and livestock market and trade disruptions persist in the Greater Lake Chad basin, the Tibesti region, and the Liptako-Gourma region. Nigeria’s land border closure continued to hinder domestic and regional trade, primarily with neighboring Niger and Benin. Locally produced staple prices were below average across the region, except in areas of atypical market functioning. In contrast, both local and imported rice prices are above average in Nigeria and other Coastal countries.

    • In East Africa, prices were unseasonably stable or increasing in many markets. These trends were driven by a combination of limited market supplies as heavy rains delayed pre and post-harvest activities, below-average production, and persistently high inflation. Prices remained higher than five-year average levels. Livestock prices remained atypically stable or declined slightly in some markets because of good rangeland conditions stemming from off-season rainfall.

    • In Southern Africa, maize supplies on major markets were at average to below-average levels. Maize grain prices continued increasing with the progression of the 2019/20 lean season and will likely follow this trend, peaking in February. South Africa continued to supply maize to structurally-deficit countries of the region, while Zambia maintained a formal ban on maize exports. Informal maize grain exports into Tanzania destined for the East African market slowed due to decreasing local supplies. 

    • In Central America, maize and bean supplies were at near average levels, as markets were being supplied with beans from the recent Postrera harvest and carryover stocks from the main Primera harvest. Maize and bean prices followed seasonal trends in January. Maize prices were above average while bean prices were below average. In Haiti, markets were adequately supplied with both local and imported staple foods as market activity continued to recover following months of civil unrest. Staple food prices were stable or decreasing relative to the previous month but remained above average price levels. The Haitian gourde was stable against the U.S. dollar. 

    • In Central Asia, wheat prices were above average in Kazakhstan and Afghanistan. Intensive exports by Pakistan earlier in the marketing have led to supply disruptions. Afghanistan maintained a below-average import gap that will be filled through intraregional trade. In Yemen, the broader conflict and macroeconomic context continued to disrupt overall market functioning and food access. Wheat flour prices were stable at elevated levels. 

    • International staple food markets are well supplied. In January rice, maize and wheat prices were increasing on average, while soybean prices exhibited mixed trends. Global crude oil prices decreased on concerns over weakening global economic growth as a result of Coronavirus while global fertilizer prices decreased on average in January. 

    Price Watch offers a monthly summary and outlook on global, regional and national trends of key commodity prices in FEWS NET countries. Analysis may touch on global issues, such as fuel prices or exchange rates, if they are likely to influence staple food prices in FEWS NET countries. The accompanying Price Watch Annex details price trends by country.

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